• Jan 15, 2008

Following the unfortunate cancellation of this year's Dakar rally, race organizers are examining a number of potential alternatives to permanently move the race away from northern Africa. Last year's race had stages canceled due to security considerations, but this year's event, which would have been going on right now, was the first to be cancelled in the rally's history. With reports now suggesting that the French foreign ministry's urging to cancel was based on direct threats from Al Qaeda to the Dakar rally itself, last year's modified race will likely have been the last to run the traditional, if oft-modified, route.

ASO – the French outfit that organizes the event, along with the famous Tour de France bicycle race – has considered a number of alternatives, including Dubai, Australia, and even running the distance from Paris all the way to Beijing, but reports are now suggesting that following the offer from the Chilean tourism minister, a deal has already been signed to hold the rally beginning next year on a route from Argentina to Chile and back.

Although the South American rally likely won't happen this year, when it does it will likely revert to Dakar's traditional January 1 starting gun and take the place of the Pampas Rally in the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup.

[Source: Autosport]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 10 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      So just call it 'Dakar-style'.

      We call forms of racing in the US "American LeMans" as an homage to the yearly race on Le Sarthe, but no one complains about that.
      • 7 Years Ago
      WRC isn't very popular. Is it? It used to be huge in the 1980s and early 1990s, but nowadays there are barely any works teams in it, and the crowds have shrunk. In Australia, you barely even hear about it. People don't care much anymore, because the best years were probably the wild and free turbo days of the Group B era, and the few years after that.

      By contrast, I think the Dakar has a pretty big worldwide audience already, and receives daily highlights on TV here (to use my country as one example). It's probably got more viewers than WRC. Reuters recently reported that the Dakar had the "largest worldwide audience overseas, after the world cup".

      Also, I think a scheduled system of Dakar RAIDs would weaken the mystique of the Dakar. It's always been a once-a-year event - a huge one-off adventure.

      Besides, there are plenty of other RAID style events already that the Dakar entrants compete in during the year, as part of a points system. But they aren't as famous, and I don't think the Dakar provides points toward this championship.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Good stuff. Keep calling it the Dakar Rally, too - if people from that region complain about the use of the name, it can be calmly explained that the rally can be returned to their country when they manage to extinguish any terrorist threats to the event or its participants.

      Consider it a new era in the history of the Dakar - the "Chilean years".
        • 7 Years Ago
        I agree. I don't think Dakaro or Dakara, anything along those lines would sound much better.
      • 7 Years Ago
      *** Can someone PLEASE help me understand any of this at all???!!!

      Im breaking my huevos here trying to figure out what is the reason or logic? The Dakar Rally puts Africa on the map every year at a time they need it most. Its free publicity for their ministries of tourism. Everyone has shops, restaurants, hotels. One of the founding principles of the Olympics was that sports should nurture & foster international relations, understanding & respect for one another. Rally racers are good people, often running at their own expense & for charitable causes. Motorheads are so non-political. Just passionate about what they do.

      And if Im not mistaken, they are mostly europeans running anyway. I think they really shot themselves in the foot. If there are any native africans around we'd like to hear what you think? - PEACE! PACE! PAZ! -
        • 7 Years Ago
        The fear mongers got to them which is unfortunate because there's plenty to be afraid of in South America too.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Yes, but if we went through life fearing anything that might have a chance at harming us, there wouldn't be anything resembling the dangerous sport that is auto racing.

        That said, running a rally-raid through dangerous territory - which the Dakar had done for the last few years despite various threats - is one thing. Having the rally directly threatened, to the point of government intervention, is an entirely different matter. Regardless of tradition, I don't think anyone involved with the rally wanted to get involved in a shooting war.

        You'll note that most racing was suspended during World War II as well - kinda hard to run Grand Prix races when half the countries involved are bombing each other. I would also suspect that no one's going to attempt putting together a rally stage for Iraq anytime soon.
      • 6 Years Ago
      hi,i am a native african from morocco and i think the idea of cancelling the dakar was stuuuuuuuuupid,i have been wating for it all year.uh" they don't care about people like you and me".
      at the worst case senario they could have skiped "MORITANIA" and continued with the race.
      THE DAKAR RALLY in chile does't sound rite ,dakar belongs in africa so does the race.